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League Members Welcome 16 New Citizens at Naturalization Ceremony

A group of League of Women Voters from Cheyenne and Laramie welcomed 16 new citizens at a naturalization ceremony Nov. 7, 2023, in Cheyenne.

The site, Prairie Winds Elementary School, was aptly named that afternoon, but it afforded a chance for fourth- through sixth-graders an opportunity not only to witness the oftentimes emotional ceremony but also to participate in it. The student council led the Pledge of Alliance; sixth-graders Jane Redd performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Tatum Ernste “God Bless the USA,” and students presented handmade cards to each new citizen.

Photo by Nancy Lockwood

Of the 16, one each came from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Canada, United Kingdom and Serbia; two from the Philippines and Vietnam, and six from Mexico. U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin presided over the ceremony.

U.S. District Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal thanked the new citizens “for choosing us” and reminded everyone to “remember we don’t pick up the welcome mat now and go home.”

Welcoming the new citizens were a dozen Cheyenne League of Women Voters members, who distributed red roses, Wyoming constitutions, voter registration information and an enamel vote pin. In addition, Nancy Lockwood, Wyoming LWV president from Laramie, and her husband, Jeff, and Margaret Brown, state LWV board member, also from Laramie, attended.

At the conclusion, all the children swarmed from the bleachers and efficiently grabbed the folding chairs from the guests because the school gym was no longer the U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming. Instead, it was time for a P.E. class.

Louisa Swain Federal Office Building

The Cheyenne League of Women Voters participated in the renaming ceremony of the 1932 federal building in Cheyenne to the Louisa Swain Federal Office Building. It honors of the first woman in the world to cast a ballot in an election on Sept. 6, 1870, giving her equal rights as men.

At the ceremony on Oct. 17, the League distributed commemorative coins with Swain’s image.

members of the Cheyenne League of Women Voters
Some of the members of the Cheyenne League of Women Voters who attended the renaming of the 1932 federal building to the Louisa Swain Federal Office Building

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., who was the driving force in the passage of public law 117-120 to rename the building at 308 W. 21st St., traced Swain’s journey from an orphanage in Charleston, S.C., to her settlement in Laramie to her death in Maryland. Swain “was specifically chosen to cast the first vote because she was an upstanding woman,” Lummis explained, “and because the women in Laramie knew it was a historic event.”

Leigh Anne Bunetta, regional counsel for the Rocky Mountain region of the General Services Administration, noted the Neoclassical-style structure was part of its small inventory of historic buildings. But she surprised the audience when she said it was the only federal building in Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming that was named for a woman. The building, designed by noted Cheyenne architect William Dubois, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Wyoming Women of Influence

Guthrie & Meister-Emerich

Two members and officers of the Cheyenne League of Women Voters were honored at the Wyoming Women of Influence luncheon October 13 in Cheyenne. CLWV President Mary Guthrie, left, received the “lifetime achievement” award for her work as a lawyer as well as a community volunteer. Dr. Keren Meister-Emerich, CLWV vice president, was recognized as a nominee in the nonprofit category for her League work from 2020-22 providing voter information through hosting Zoom candidate forums and posting to Facebook the videos, which attracted thousands of views. (Photo by Rosalind Schliske)

2024 Elections

Members of the Cheyenne League of Women Voters were featured at the August 9, 2021, dedication of a plaque marking the Cheyenne home of Esther Hobart Morris at 2114 Warren Avenue on the National Votes for Women Trail. It is the first NVWT marker in Wyoming.
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